Is That Detox Just Another Diet in Disguise? – Episode #004
In this show you will learn the important things to consider if you’re thinking of doing a detox program. Do they really work for weight loss? Do you need to detox? What should you do if you feel like you need to reboot your eating and self care habits? Discover the #1 thing that is absolutely critical for transforming habits and achieving your health and weight management goals.
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Welcome to the soul science nutrition podcast where you’ll discover that when it comes to your health, you’re so much more powerful than you’ve been led to believe. And now your host, she’s a holistic nutrition and lifestyle coach, chef, author, and Yogi Christine Okezie.
Hello and welcome to episode four of my soul science nutrition podcast. I’m Christine Okezie Thanks so much for being here today. So today I want to jump into a really interesting and timely topic to the truth about detox. Well, you know, it’s spring and everywhere you turn you’re seeing ads and emails telling you it’s time to detox your body, shed those winter pounds, blast the quarantine 15 you know, get your body ready for summer and get that eating under control. I mean, it all sounds good. After all, we can all fall into a rut with our eating and self care, especially now. But the question is, what is the most effective way to address these all too common feelings that we may need a reboot? Well, on today’s show, I want to explore the truth about detoxes. How do they really work? Do we need to detox?
How would you know if that’s the case and at the end of the day, what should we be doing if we feel we need to actually do some sort of detox? Now admittedly there’s something intuitive about detoxing that resonates with us because we recognize that living in this modern day society, we’ve all become very toxic. But for the most part, because of all the buzz and cliche, some of the real truth and the meaning of detox has actually been lost. Detoxes, well, they promise to eliminate a buildup, a buildup of toxins in the body, you know, so we’re going to do some things to flush our system, maybe wring out our liver and get our body squeaky clean. So in addition to do’s and don’ts, meal plans, minimal food intake or fasting, right? They can also include supplements and juices and shakes. But sadly most detoxes are just diets in disguise.
There’s that hidden messaging, the promises of rapid weight loss coming with that punitive element, that restrictive, no pain, no gain approach. It basically says we’re going to do anything we need to do to lose as much weight as possible, as quickly as we can. That’s the promise. But this line of thinking just creates more obsessions with burning fat, counting calories and trying out new diets. It leads to unhealthy habits, low energy, potentially overexertion, sometimes even triggers eating disorders or worse, and just like conventional calorie restricted diets. These detox gimmicks can wreak havoc on our metabolic rate, messing with our blood sugar balance and even creating digestive. So the bottom line here is that detoxes are not something that should be done as a weight loss remedy. I’ll say that again. Detoxes are not something that should be done as a weight loss remedy. They are not effective for longterm weight loss.
Can you lose weight as a result of a detox? Sure, but the way you lose from a cleanse or detox is a result of mainly losing water, carbohydrates stored in the body and stool, which all return after you resume regular eating because like a diet, most detoxes have no behavioral change component. But full disclosure, I run my share of detoxes and cleanses in my health coaching practice, but if you ever did one with me, you would recall that in addition to prescriptive recommendations with food, my plan always included equal emphasis on practices that addressed stress reduction, emotional and mental self care. The vast majority of detox plans out there are uni focused focused solely on the physical component of health, I. E. Weight loss and they miss the boat on how stress specifically the emotional, mental and spiritual toxins affect us and can actually trigger physiological changes in the body as well.
Things like loneliness, anger, grief, resentment, etc.. He see modern day thinking is backwards when it comes to fat loss. We often think that if we lose weight, we will become healthy. When in reality we have to become healthy first. How? By eating whole real foods, moving our bodies appropriately, prioritizing stress reduction. We do these things to get healthy, we will inevitably lose the weight. So ideally when you embark on a detox, the goal is to experience measurable benefits in your digestion and your energy level and your mental clarity. You come away after a detox, feeling more balanced, making changes in your everyday routines that bring a heightened awareness to how you care for yourself in your habits around food and self care. And then you take what you’ve learned and experienced in the detox process to a deeper, more long lasting level, making you as a result, feeling more open and receptive to making lasting lifestyle changes.
This is why learning how to detox properly can actually be a way to become healthy first and allow the body to release and free itself of excess weight. So let’s say you know you have been exposed to some toxic elements, or maybe you’ve just gone too long with poor dietary and lifestyle habits. Well then detoxifying the body in a safe and appropriate way can be a helpful way to make some really good lasting changes. So it’s important to begin, I think, with an understanding of what toxins we’re actually talking about. Because to be clear, no matter how clean your life is, how you live your life, just about everybody shows some amount of buildup of toxins. In fact, according to the nonprofit organization, the environmental working group, EWG, it’s a great website by the way, ewg.org highly recommend it. The average newborn baby has almost 300 known toxins in the umbilical cord.
So if that’s a newborn baby, just imagine how many we’ve been exposed to in the course of our lives. Once again, even the CDC has reported that, um, in the average person they find 212 chemicals in our blood and urine and 75 of those have actually never even been measured in the U S population. So many of these chemicals, well, they’re linked to health conditions and that’s really what this is all about, right? Many of these chemicals are linked to an increased risk for cancer, diabetes, insulin resistance, weight loss, resistance, thyroid issues, hormone issues, right? I mean, in our world of pollution, plastics, pesticides, processed foods, artificial, this and that. Of course, you know, we’ve got a lot to deal with, right? We’re getting a major influx every single moment of the substances, either one of them or a combination of small amounts. So to be clear, what we’re talking about when we’re looking at the detoxification process in the body as it relates to our weight issues and our health issues, all of these things add up.
These chemicals represent what we call the toxic load or the toxic burden. But here’s the situation. It’s really important to remember that detoxification occurs all the time in our bodies just naturally just by breathing. We have two main detox organs, the liver and the kidneys. Those are the main ones, and over time they can start to lose their capacity to efficiently detoxify and the more that we lose this natural capacity, the more we’re on track to develop some serious health problems. Specifically, I want to talk about weight control because weight control becomes actually much more difficult to manage as a result of a backed up liver. Our liver plays such a key part in the blood sugar control, fat storage, metabolism, all these functions, which obviously are really key when it comes to weight management. So in short, a toxic liver can’t keep up with its metabolic functions if it’s unhealthy.
Problems with detoxification can be at the root of our struggle around our health and weight issues. So signs of toxicity can be anything from digestive issues or chronic fatigue, food allergies, multiple food allergies, um, certainly any kind of weight loss resistance or belly fat, um, insulin resistance, it can even affect our mood. But despite that, the human body is already beautifully designed to detoxify and repair itself through its own protective mechanisms. So what should we be doing? Well, first and foremost, in order for the body to do the work of detoxification properly, it must have adequate nutrients. So this means limiting processed, high-fat, sugary foods and replacing them with more fruits and vegetables. There is no need for most of us to do these exotic juices, expensive supplements and enemas. I say, let’s begin with a food reboot. One of my teachers and leaders in lifestyle and holistic medicine is Dr Andrew Weil.
And I love his quote. The best way to detoxify is to stop putting toxic things into the body and depend upon its own mechanisms. So beautiful. So instead of a detox plan, you know, that’s relying on gimmicks, tonics, and extreme diets. Why not approach an all natural body detox by simply adopting self care practices that support our liver and our kidneys and give them a chance to just step up and do their normal detox duties? Right? So I’m going to go through just a handful of some key strategies here that I think will help you identify if in fact you’re looking at a detox plan, making sure that these elements are at the core. Number one, eat organic as much as you can as much as your budget and your access to organic foods can. Organic foods won’t contain the chemical pesticides, the antibiotics and hormones that are typically found in a lot of the non-organic grown foods, right?
In fact, studies have shown that eating an 80% organic diet, not a hundred percent okay, just 80% and I think we can do that a lot more effectively, can actually reduce the amount of pesticides circulating in the body by over 90% in just three to five days. So the best place to start again, not a hundred percent organic check out again that ewg.org and look up the dirty dozen or the clean 15 that’ll tell you how to stretch your dollar when you’re looking to upgrade the quality of your organic foods and produce. Number two very related, eat whole real foods. So let’s just avoid eating on a boxes and packages and a lot of the processed stuff, right? Again, let’s go for an 80 20 rule. We can up that percentage of the amount of whole real foods that we eat in our food. That’s a lot more doable, right?
Cut back on that refined sugar that may be overdependence on caffeine and alcohol and those what I used to call or what I like to call them sources of fake energy, right? Things that mask the body’s need for real fuel. Next big one. Eat more dark leafy greens. I don’t care how you get them, have them with breakfast, have them with lunch. Have them, you know, sauteed, raw, steamed in a salad, whatever you can do, just eat those dark leafy greens, right? They’re, they’re easy to prepare and they’re one of the things you get the most bang for your buck, if you will. When it comes to supporting our natural repair mechanisms. Lots of fruit and vegetables. Drink lots of water. You know how much water, well, you know, they say to aim for half your body weight in ounces. So I like to think of that as an aspirational goal for you guys, right?
So let’s say if you weigh 150 pounds, you’re going to aim for something like 75 ounces of water. Now that’s a fair amount of water if you’re not a water drinker. But the idea is simply to bring more awareness to your hydration needs on a daily basis. One simple habit that I swear by is drinking a glass of lemon water upon waking. Simply keep a glass of water, can be any temperature of your liking by your bedside with fresh lemon juice and in the morning. Enjoy that detoxifying naturally alkalizing drink to love your liver a little bit more each day. Next, if you do animal protein now would be an opportunity to choose organic grass fed or pastured or when it comes to seafood to opt for the wild caught seafood. Another thing you can do to help with that toxic load is to reduce BPA exposure.
BPA or bisphenol a is a toxin recognized for wreaking havoc on the hormone balance in our body. So you want to avoid canned foods and store foods in BPA free containers. And along those lines of cleaning up our environment, we can inventory our personal care products and our household cleaning products and look to upgrade those to less chemicalized, less toxic versions. And this again is where I would recommend you checking out this great resource, ewg.org to look for higher quality products. Now when it comes to the non-food self care practices that we can employ to help the body liberate itself naturally of toxins. I want to mention saunas, Epsom salt baths and dry skin brushing, beautiful ways to nurture and care for our body and again support the body’s natural ability to rid itself of our toxic load. Also, I want to mention conscious breathing techniques, these beautiful pranayams that come from let’s say the yoga tradition are designed to activate the body’s detox capabilities as well.
Specifically since I come from the Kundalini yoga tradition, breath of fire and lions breaths, you might want to give those a quick research and look those up and learn those. Those are a beautiful everyday self care practice just again to bring the body into balance and optimize our level of detoxification naturally. And then finally, when it comes to moving our bodies, I encourage you to explore all the things that are available in yoga. There are actually some specific yoga postures and sequences that are designed to stimulate our kidneys, our livers, another detox capabilities, our lymphatic system. Most of Kundalini yoga, for example, is really focused on enhancing digestion and our elimination. So once again, if you want to take a little side tour and look up specific yoga poses, that again can be part of your natural total body detox plan. Things like spinal twists, Cobra pose, Crow pose, and squats, even just cat cow, some of these very fundamental yoga postures have a lot of bang for your buck to add into your menu of detox and self care.
So I want to segway now of course, since this is the soul science nutrition podcast and we talk about the body, the mind, and the soul, a genuinely holistic approach. I want to say that before you embark on any detox or wellness plan for that matter. But specifically today we’re talking about the detox. The first thing that I invite you to do is to do some detoxifying of something that’s going on in our mind. See, there’s a serious belief that’s going on that’s going to really stand in the way of your desire to make space for something new and great to happen for your health. And that’s this insidious component that comes with the goal setting process of any wellness plan. And it happens so quickly and without awareness you don’t even realize you fallen into the trap and it’s the implicit belief that you in your current state are not good enough.
A mindset that makes your own very self-acceptance conditional upon obtaining your goal, whatever that is, to eat better, to lose weight, change your appearance in some way. And why is this significant? Because this belief is what makes us default to that drill Sergeant in our head that pushes us with that negative self talk, that mantra be all that you can be. Just do it right now. Not there is anything inherently wrong with having that kind of energy to, to go for what we want in life. What I’m asking you to do is to invite um, a curiosity and bring just a, a level of inquiry. What are the emotions that are driving your goal setting process? Because if in fact you’re coming from a place of self deficiency or guilt or any amount of shame, which most diets and detoxes promote, you have to understand that when it comes to habit change, the research is abundantly clear.
Emotions are what? Drive habits. In other words, you have to feel good to do good. You have to feel successful to be successful. It turns out that positive feelings go a long, long way. Positive feelings mean feeling good about yourself, feeling good about yourself creates biochemical changes, your body and the neuropathways in your brain that are an essential component of healthy lifestyle change. And the reason we’re talking about this is because on most diets and detox, fitness regimes, whatever it is, you are not set up to feel good, right? Let’s just call it what it is. You’re starting from a lack of worthiness of brokenness and of deficiency, and then you proceed, you know, with this no pain, no gain approach, the process actually becomes one of willpower, social comparison, a fear of failure, right? That’s the energy. That’s the emotional energy that underlies most of these plans when in truth, what we need to be doing is fostering your self confidence in boosting our optimism, our self appreciation.
We need to have a means to celebrate our efforts and small wins all along the way. Now, this is not really part of the program when it comes to most diets and detoxes, right? But it turns out, and it’s why we’re talking about it today. It turns out these are absolutely critical for transforming habits and quite frankly, transforming your life. So my recommendation is to start from a place of wholeness. I teach my clients how to feel good before they lose the weight, change their body, et cetera. And this begins with framing your desire, framing your goal to make some changes from a place of love and appreciation. How do I do this? Well, instead of I hate my body, I have to get things under control. I feel so hopeless. Instead of that, we change the narrative. I know that my body has been trying to get my attention for a while now and I’ve developed some unhealthy habits, but I am still worthy of my love and attention.
How about I am grateful for the opportunity now to take some steps to nourish my body with food and the self care that I deserve. So from this state of being, we want to just pick a few habits that you want to work on. Radical overhaul has too many pitfalls and here’s the thing, you need to celebrate the wins. No matter how small you think they are. Perhaps you started your day with lemon water. Congratulations. Maybe you avoid criticizing yourself in the mirror when you got dressed in the morning. Fabulous. That’s a huge win. Maybe you went for a walk, made a healthy lunch instead of skipping meals. Maybe you took the time to meditate for five minutes. That’s fantastic. Maybe you say to yourself, I recognized that when I ate X, what I really needed was some rest and a good plan for a healthy snack.
Awesome. We changed the voice in our head when we celebrate the wins and give ourselves credit for all our efforts. We need to be aware of all the good choices and decisions that we are making every day because they all matter. These strategies are so important and what they allow you to do is they allow you to feel good about yourself throughout the change process. The ability to feel good about yourself throughout the change process is really your super power. And isn’t that what health really is? I mean, it’s a process, a process of change, a lifelong journey of learning, growing, evolving in our bodies. So this is the mindset that I invite you to cultivate. It’s a 180 degree turn away from mainstream detox and diets because I believe how you go about rebooting, how you go about achieving your natural weight should be how you want to eat and care for yourself for the rest of your life. So once again, thank you so much for listening. I’m Christine Okezie, if you liked this podcast, please hit the subscribe button and leave a review sending you lots of love, light. And wishing you great health. Bye for now.